If you have a growing kiddo, you could start thinking about a two-phase orthodontic treatment. We recommend children start visiting the orthodontist at around seven years old—or sooner.
We have found that we can prepare them much better for braces by giving them a first phase of orthodontic work before all their baby teeth are out.
What Is a Two-Phase Treatment Plan?
More and more parents are seeing the common sense in two-phase treatments. Children already have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth at six to nine years of age. When they visit us at that age, we can already see if teeth are growing in at bad angles or other issues.
The overall plan includes:
- First Phase: We guide the teeth and jaws as they grow and your little one still has a mixture of baby and adult teeth.
- Resting Phase: We observe your child’s development for about one to three years as the baby teeth fall out. We may intervene to help healthy development, which could include extracting certain baby teeth as adult teeth come in.
- Second Phase: We use braces to complete the orthodontic treatment.
If teeth are extremely crooked in the first phase, we can straighten them out and guide their development. This makes braces in the teenage years much easier when the foundation is already laid with straighter teeth.
Does My Child Need a Two-Phase Treatment?
The first step is to bring your child to us at an early age. Ages six and seven are typically perfect, but you can bring your child at any age if you think there’s a problem earlier or later.
Here are some of the top reasons a child needs to start a two-phase treatment:
- Abnormal Jaw Development: Jaw development issues are caused by a wide range of issues, such as late or early losses of baby teeth, crowded teeth, underbites, undersized or oversized jaws, and other causes.
- Early or Abnormal Loss of Baby Teeth: The typical pattern is for children to lose their first teeth when they’re about six years old—the front teeth first, then generally moving back to the molars. If your child loses teeth before they turn five or loses them seriously out of order, they may need early treatment.
- Late Thumb Sucking: If your child is still thumb-sucking at age five or older, he or she may need orthodontic treatment. This behavior can lead to malformation of the roof of the mouth or an overbite.
- Difficulty Chewing or Biting: These problems are often caused by a misaligned bite, tooth infection, or jaw joint problem.
- Crossbite: This is diagnosed when the bottom and top teeth overlap irregularly in a combination of left–right and forward–back misalignment.
- Early Crowded Teeth: As the teeth are growing in, they might overlap, rotate, or grow high in the gums. At an early age, we can guide the jaw to expand, making room for the teeth.
Benefits of Two-Phase Treatments
Catching orthodontic issues early could give your child an improved ability to bite, chew, and speak. Plus, he or she should have a much easier time with braces and a great-looking smile when the teeth and jaw have already been guided for several years.
These phases could also save your child from later procedures. Making more space in the jaw might prevent the need for later tooth extractions or surgical jaw realignment.
During phase one, we’ll start building your child’s orthodontic records, including x-rays, photos, and more. Once all the adult teeth have come in, we’ll be ready to use these records, our treatment plan, and braces and retainers to complete your child’s beautiful adult smile.
Improve Your Child’s Smile With Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Whatever age your child is now, we’re happy to meet with you and give him or her an exam. By guiding their teeth and jaws throughout childhood, we’ll be able to give them a healthy, great-looking smile in their teen years. Call now to start their treatment plan.